I've been away from these forums for a while since I haven't been taking Amtrak for a while - think my last train was a Surfliner back in early 2016. Also, having to be gluten-free basically makes it impossible to enjoy multi-day long distance train rides (to do a sleeper I'd have to pay for food I wouldn't be eating since Amtrak doesn't do GF, and cold food+coach for multiple days doesn't sound good at all, nor does risking my stomach when on a train for 3 days).
Anyway, I've since moved back to Michigan, and am starting to plan my next trip. I'm looking at going from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids to meet someone for a minor-league hockey game the Friday before Memorial Day, and then heading to Chicago for Tigers/White Sox. I'm going Greyhound Ann Arbor-Grand Rapids as Amtrak doesn't offer anything except horrible 4-7 hr connections. After that, I'm thinking of taking the Pere Marquette to Chicago, since I've never had a chance to ride that before (I'd take the Wolverine back to ARB).
Given that, I had a few questions about that route. For one, is there any interesting scenery on this route? Lake views? I'd have to get up quite early to catch the train (it leaves at 6am from GRR), and I'm kind of wondering if it's worth my while or if I should just take a later bus or Thruway connection to CHI. Also, are there any issues with major delays? I'd be going to a 1pm game in Chicago the day I took the train, so it would seem like the Pere Marquette's arrival would leave me plenty of time. Also, does anybody have hotel suggestions near the station in Grand Rapids or even Holland? With that early of a train, proximity to the station would be important.
Looking forward to being back on the train - hope to do something more substantial later this summer (thinking of doing VIA Rail Windsor-Toronto-Montreal (spending some time in at least the latter two), heading down to Vermont (meeting someone) via the Adirondack+Port Kent ferry, Vermonter to NYP, stay in NY a while and then back via the LSL+that Toledo Thruway bus - would have a few interesting stops along the way, yet wouldn't spend too long on any one train.
Let me know if you have any thoughts/suggestions...